Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 12, 2011

A False NYT Claim About Friendly Fire Incidents

The authors of this NYT story, U.S. Troops Fire on Afghan Police, Survivors Say, make a conscious effort to claim that such incidents are uncommon.

While there have been dozens of cases of Afghan soldiers firing on members of the NATO-led military coalition, reports of NATO soldiers firing on their Afghan counterparts are rare.
NATO and Afghan forces have shot at each other before, often as a result of heated arguments. About 50 coalition soldiers, at least 30 of them Americans, have died in what the military calls “green-on-blue” attacks since March 2009, when Afghan and coalition forces began patrolling together regularly.

But reports of NATO soldiers firing on their Afghan counterparts are uncommon.

Shorter NYT: "Those damned Afghan police kill our soldiers while our soldiers nearly never kill them."

But as a cursory web search can easily prove, that claim is utterly false. About as many Afghan security forces get killed by NATO soldiers in "blue on green" events than NATO soldiers get killed by Afghan security forces.

For the record an incomplete list:

Afghan police reported killed in NATO strike, Aug 1 2011

The governor of a province in northeastern Afghanistan said Monday a NATO airstrike killed four police officers at a checkpoint in the remote, mountainous region.

Jamaluddin Badar said the strike took place late Sunday in the Wama district of the province of Nuristan, a lawless, rugged area near the border with Pakistan. He said coalition forces detained 12 police officers following the airstrike.

Nato air strikes kill 52, claim Afghans authorities, May 29 2011

Separately the governor of Nuristan on Sunday told AFP that 18 civilians and 20 police were killed by “friendly fire” during US-led air strikes against insurgents in his troubled northeastern province.
“The policemen were killed due to friendly fire,” Badr said, adding the air strike in the troubled district of Do Ab targeted a location that the officers “had just” taken from the insurgents during fighting.

NATO friendly fire kills up to 10 Afghans: police , May 3 2011

GHAZNI: Up to 10 Afghan guards were killed Tuesday in a NATO air strike along a highway in southern Afghanistan, police said, in the latest friendly fire incident involving the alliance's forces.

The armed guards were escorting a supply convoy to NATO bases in southern Afghanistan when they were hit in the province of Ghazni, Mohammad Hussain Yaqoubi, the deputy provincial police chief told AFP. "Maybe mistaking them with insurgents NATO helicopters targeted the guards. Between eight to 10 guards have been killed," he added. An investigation was underway, the police chief said.

Three Afghan police killed in Nato air strike, Jan 10 2011

A Nato air raid in central Afghanistan may have killed three Afghan police officers and wounded three others, the third such incident in fewer than five weeks.

NATO strikes kill Afghan police and civilians, Aug 21 2010

Air strikes by the NATO-led force in Afghanistan accidentally killed at least three Afghan police in the country's north and a woman and two children in the west, officials said on Saturday.

Six Afghan soldiers killed in Nato 'friendly fire' air strike, July 7 2010

Local police in Ghazni province, in south-central Afghanistan, said Nato "friendly fire" on an army post killed six officers.

The US-led Nato force said it was investigating what had happened.


KABUL: A Nato airstrike aimed at insurgents attacking a joint Afghan-Nato patrol accidentally killed several Afghan policemen, Nato said yesterday.

The patrol was operating in the Imam Sahib district of the northern province of Kunduz when it came under fire and called in air support.

US forces kill six Afghan police in friendly fire, Dec 10 2008

Afghan officials: US-led forces killed 9 police, July 20 2008

Seven Afghan police 'killed in U.S. friendly fire strike', June 12 2007

US looks at friendly fire in Afghan police deaths, April 18 2006

and so on.

Posted by b on August 12, 2011 at 4:54 UTC | Permalink


Thanks for the documentation. (By the way, you almost certainly want the adjective "conscious" rather than the noun "conscience" in the first line.)

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Aug 12 2011 9:12 utc | 1

I knew what you meant.
If I want spelling or grammar lessons I can get them at the BBC's website. Lessons in bad manners can be found, occasionally, in the comments at MoA, whether I want them or not.
If you ever write something I can't decipher, I'll ask you to explain it.
But so far, so good.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 12 2011 11:59 utc | 2

it doesn't look like HKO used bad manners
:..this looks like a blue on green incident


Posted by: rudolf | Aug 12 2011 15:48 utc | 3

Point taken.
However, I will continue to defend the www as a place where style is never be allowed to trump substance.
That's what the MSM, and TL Friedman, are for.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 13 2011 2:45 utc | 4

... or something like that...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 13 2011 2:48 utc | 5

thanks b. and thanks hannah too.

. Even the captain stood, pulled his sidearm and began shooting, he said.

Mr. Naim was shot in both legs.

Making it even more perplexing, both wounded officers said, is that they knew the American captain and the soldiers.

“We had been patrolling together the last three or four months,” Mr. Naim said. “We used to be good friends with the captain and his men. He was a nice person, very talkative. We went on patrols with them. We risked our lives with them. I don’t know why they did this.”


Among the dead were Mr. Naim’s nephew, Abdul Majeed, 23, and two of Mr. Naim’s cousins, Jumma Gul, 25, and Muhammed Gul, 21.

Posted by: annie | Aug 13 2011 21:39 utc | 6

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